Beginning July 1, 2018, the minimum wage will change for many people working in California.
As part of California’s statewide initiative to increase the minimum wage, Emeryville, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Milpitas, Pasadena, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and San Leandro will see increases in their minimum wages. In locations such as Emeryville, the wage will be as high as $15.60 for employers with 56 or more employees and $15.00 for employers with less than 55. In October, the city of Berkley will increase its minimum wage to $15.00.
Santa Monica has several minimum wage tiers depending on the size of an organization. For employers with fewer than 25 employees, the minimum wage will increase to $12. For employers with 26 or more employees, the minimum will rise to $13.25. For hotel employers in the city, the wage will increase to $16.10.
California is part of a wave of minimum wage increases that are being instituted across the country. In January, 4.5 million workers in 18 states and the District of Columbia, along with 20 municipalities, saw increases in their paychecks because of higher minimum wage laws.
For workers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, increases are a result of new legislation or ballot measures. Workers in Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and South Dakota, will see automatic adjustments for inflation. The new minimum hourly wages range from $7.85 in Missouri to $11.50 in Washington State.
According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a majority of states now have laws requiring companies to pay workers more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
NELP says that campaigns to raise the wage are underway in at least 17 states and cities, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Nevada.
The raises in minimum wage are not a luxury. NELP says cost-of-living data show that in all 50 states, workers will soon need $15 an hour or more to afford the basics. The only question left is when will the federal government take action to raise its current minimum wage standards, which have been in place since 2009.
As more cities and states across the U.S. implement practices for increasing the minimum wage, employers should keep abreast of changing legislation in locations where they do business. Failing to comply with minimum wage increases could lead to heavy wage and hour penalties and poses a significant risk of litigation.
As states begin to increase minimum wages, employers should also stay up to speed on the changes relating to pay equity. At least 15 states are implementing new laws in 2018 to encourage pay equity, including bans on salary history, gender discrimination, retaliation, paid leave, and even protections for workers who are victims of domestic violence. Make sure your organization is complying with the employment protection laws as they continue to surface.